This is a preview of restricted content.
Full access to this content is reserved for Advisory Board members; we invite you to learn more by contacting us.
Despite opportunities for philanthropy that are present with wealthy and highly satisfied patients, most of these individuals never form meaningful relationships with development due to ineffective hospital strategy.
By reading this study, members can:
- Implement 15 best practices for accelerating prospect identification, enhancing service to high capacity patients, matching resources to prospect potential and leveraging physician influence
- Structure a successful grateful patient program that will be central to the continued success of hospital development
Our greatest assets
Across the country, hospital foundations and development offices are garnering heightened attention from the executive suite. While chief development officers welcome this increased visibility, it brings with it greater demands as well. Most organizations will face progressively higher fundraising targets over the next five years, often without commensurate increases in budgets and staffing. Much of this growth will no doubt come from hospitals’ existing donor pools. But, with many institutions now in near-perpetual campaign mode, it will not be possible to achieve revenue goals simply by repeatedly soliciting the same cadre of trusted donors. Development will need to find new prospects to expand the donor pipeline substantially.
Fortunately, hospital development executives are advantaged by a unique asset: the tens of thousands of patients who pass through the typical institution each year. While occasional mega-gifts from community benefactors command media headlines, hospitals derive the vast majority of their philanthropic revenues from the patients they care for directly. This support should perhaps come as little surprise: 90 percent of patients are satisfied with their care experience, while as many as 9 percent have a net worth of $1 million or more.
An unrealized opportunity
Yet even a cursory examination of the industry shows that the potential of grateful patient fundraising remains largely untapped. Hospitals typically approach their grateful patients in a piecemeal fashion, with individual initiatives rarely cohering into an integrated and effective overall strategy. The result is that despite having powerful, sometimes life-saving, personal encounters with the hospital, many wealthy, satisfied patients never form meaningful relationships with development.
A promising alternative is offered by the small but growing number of institutions that have adopted a more active approach to grateful patient fundraising. These foundations and development offices focus on two key goals: improving service levels during the hospital stay and leveraging patient gratitude post-discharge to further the development relationship.
Increasing patient gratitude
Rather than delaying initial contact with prospects until after discharge, best-practice development programs identify wealthy individuals while still in the hospital and then take steps to improve the patient experience. Their efforts have met with notable success. While not dramatically moved by luxury amenities, most patients deeply appreciate personal support and care coordination, which overtaxed medical providers are often ill-positioned to provide. By offering these services, development executives find they can increase the level of patient gratitude and facilitate the formation of philanthropic relationships.
Ensuring effective follow-up
Although well-designed service improvements lead to a larger number of grateful wealthy patients, institutions often struggle to reach these prospects effectively. The most successful development programs have crafted outreach protocols that calibrate development resources to prospect potential. These institutions have also redirected their approach to physician involvement, relying less on referrals from clinical staff and instead deploying physicians where they are both more comfortable and most effective—typically, during the qualification and cultivation stages. Such strategies ensure that development identifies the most attractive prospects and then focuses its efforts accordingly.
Connecting through care
In the following pages, we examine a series of best practices to help development executives identify high-capacity patients, offer exceptional service, and leverage resources to ensure effective postdischarge outreach. While far from providing the last word, we hope that the materials presented here prove useful to development executives as they endeavor to upgrade their grateful patient programs.
Our Greatest Assets